Well, This Is Unpleasant

ravin
The stark white on blue kindergarten interface of LJ is getting more ubiquitous, and harder on the eyes than goddamn Facebook.

Plus, my Friends Page is now a hideous light blue and white mess, not my style that I want it seen in.

Seriously, assholes, get your fingers out of my design. If I wanted ubiquitous blue and white I'd be using Facebook, and you'd have nothing.

Dear Whoever

flamethrower - from icons r us
If I have to justify my rights to you, or "ask nicely" if I can speak, act or live, then you don't consider them rights at all, and we have nothing to discuss. If for you it's just "policy" or "debate", but for those like me it is life or death, I do not consider that you have a say in the matter.

Sure, you might claim to be "involved(a)", but if I'm "committed(b)", and you can just butt the fuck out.

Note: Think a ham and eggs breakfast. The chicken is (a)involved, the pig is (b)committed.

Thoughts on Homelessness

flamethrower - from icons r us
Several years ago, in my early twenties, I was literally within weeks of being homeless. My car was dead, I was unemployed and almost out of benefits, had been eating rice and ramen for almost 6 months, and I was being evicted from my apartment because they were raising the rent by over $100 a month (30% more). I was literally less than a month from losing everything I had. The "public assistance" stuff at that time was only available to women with kids, not able-bodied students.

I got lucky - I found a (temp) job I could get to by transit, and another apartment that I could (just barely) afford. I moved on the last weekend before the end of my notice. All during this time I had no medical insurance, of course, so even when I trashed my ankle a few months later, I just ace bandaged it, stayed home from work for two days (unpaid) and took lots of ibuprofen.

But I will never forget, staring into a dingy bathroom mirror on a soon to be overpriced slum apartment (complete with roaches), telling myself I would never let myself get that desperate again. I already had too many men catcalling me on the streets, following me home from the bus, etc - how the fuck would I survive without even a car to lock myself into? How would I cook, what could I eat or drink?

Ever since then, I've always had a few months of food "in case". I've always tried to keep a car that I could sleep in, if I had to. I always had "camping gear" available, ready to hand. I've always had a plan B, plan C, and plan D, and fret if I don't.

I always will.

I wasn't raised a few weeks away from homelessness. I was middle class, professional parents, etc.

But that was before Ronald Reagan was president, and the shredding of the safety net.

So every time someone shits on the homeless, I take it personally. That could have been me, but for a lucky call from a temp agency. The only difference, in a lot of cases, is that they never got that lucky call.

Two of my roommates were homeless before they moved in with me. Both veterans.

I don't go on marches and all of that. But my friends know that if they're a bit short on food, if I've got something they can use to eat, it's theirs for the asking. If someone needs a couple months crash, if I've got room, they can have a roof for a while, but not necessarily forever.

I will not vote for a Republican who is heir to anything resembling Reagan's "legacy".

No matter how much I make, no matter how high I rise, a part of me will always be a terrified twenty-something looking at living on the street with nothing.

Always.

$1301 WTF PG&E!

ravin
Just got my most recent PG&E bill: $1301!!!!!!!!

Yeah, December was fucking cold, but holy shit!!! 3240 kwh???? Plus, January has yet another rate increase. 90% of that is at $0.363/kwh - tier 4, let us bleed you white because you dare to heat your home or have electronics.

Tier 4 is 200% of baseline and over, but the fucking baseline is set for a single person in an efficiency apartment, with one small fridge, one dinky tv, and no gadgets or electric heaters. Not an old victorian with a one lung furnace, several computers, cell phones, tablets, stereos, multiple fridge/freezers, and 5 people!

I have hated their ever-shrinking baseline since I was in a two bedroom apartment. I haven't been under baseline since I was in a one bedroom with no TV and a small fridge by myself. Then my bill actually showed a small uptick when I used my freaking sewing machine. That was 30 years ago, and the fuckery has only gotten worse.

I will be so glad when I get the solar installed. That will knock down the top half of my bill. The utilities aren't liking solar power much, it eats into their obscene profits. They can't gouge as much at the top tier, fuck you in the ass without lube, rate.

The State of The Bird

flamethrower - from icons r us
Unemployed, but at least I qualify for unemployment, which will cover the mortgage for six months. I just need to come up with the other $3000/month operating expenses, including COBRA at over $1200/mo. I will have to liquidate my stock in my old company, but I won't lose money on the deal. If I didn't have that reserve, I'd be terrified right now. As it is, I'm quietly panicking - I'm 52, and Silicon Valley is ageist as hell. Datapard hasn't even been able to get temp work for over 4 years.

I have had phone screens and interviews since the day after I was let go. Unfortunately, it's still an employers market (thank you, GOP) and they want the usual laundry list of every specific little program in their environment. Some of them even call me about contract opportunities at my previous employer!

Fighting the winter unemployed blues, but doing OK if I remember to take my supplements, especially vitamin D3.

I still need to put the new power supply in my Linux desktop (the original blew last July) and unload the half dozen or so blog posts and stories that are trying to burst out of my brain. I can't do them on my laptop because it would aggravate my RSIs too much. I may need to take the Windoze netbook and see if it will run Dragon Dictate or something.

My health is okay, but I really need to get a new neuro to get an updated sleep study and script for Imitrex.

Because I have had high (as in above $600) utility bills, I did qualify for zero down solar. Considering how much the PG&E rates have been ratcheting up in the last few years, locking in my rate increases on half my utility costs to 2.9%/year is a good deal - it flattens my cost curve a lot. Plus, if I overproduce, I can sell to the grid, which actually helps stabilize the grid on hot days. I had said when I owned this place I wanted solar, now it's going to happen. Still need $$$ to do painting and other repairs. If I get work in the new two months, I can use the liquidated stock for house repairs.

Gastric Bypass is a Deadly Hazard

flamethrower - from icons r us
This is why I will never have that surgery (from another blog about something else, names removed):
Three years earlier D had gastric-bypass surgery after which she lost an extraordinary amount of weight. By 2008 she needed a skin-reduction operation. In August D went back into the hospital for that surgery. Within a few days of the operation she became terribly ill. Her intestines had unexpectedly twisted causing her to become septic. Eight days later she was gone.
This woman's daughter had been bullied about her mother's weight. Not her own, her mother's weight. After she committed suicide over this and other bullying, her mother, D, got the bypass surgery. Three years later she was dead from complications. So now there were two casualties from the fat-shaming.

Gastric bypass is major, life threatening surgery. It can kill you just as dead as committing suicide from bullying. It's elective, no matter how much your doctor bullies you into it. No matter how much supposedly well meaning friends and family try to bully you into it.

What bypass pushers are saying is they would rather see you dead than "fat".

Fuck that.

Yes, it's your choice, but the fact is that it can kill you earlier than any supposed "complications of obesity". Sure, people get lucky, for a while, then 3 or more years later can die anyway. It also causes severe malnutrition and calcium leaching.

Ask yourself this: Is living up to society's expectation for a trim appearance worth dying for, worth leaving your family desolate and grieving? Is being fashionable worth your life?

Then make your choice.

------------
P.S.: I know some of my friends who read this have had the surgery. Since it's your body, it's your choice. However, I can't agree with you on it. I'll support you in doing what you wish, but a part of me cries at the risk and the waste. I don't want to attend your funeral because of fashion.

Oh, yeah...

ravin
Getting married tomorrow. Aug 1 is the anniversary of our DP, so we put the wedding on the same day.

Small, local ceremony officiated by a friend. No big anything. Probably a reception at a later date (at a SF&F con, natch.)

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Respecting People's Schedules

flamethrower - from icons r us
You know, I really try to respect other folks plans and schedules. I will cut stuff short so I can be where I need to be to allow for other people's arrangements, and try to be as flexible as I can. But some others can't be bothered to extend the same courtesy to me. Read more...Collapse )

Finally!

ravin
After much 'round and 'round, we are all signed, sealed and delivered and paper shuffle completed. I start paying mortgage on *my* house July 1. *phew*

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Taxes & DOMA

flamethrower - from icons r us
It cost me $564 to get my taxes done this year, because of DOMA and Prop 8. If those two things weren't there, I'd make an honest woman of DataWolf, and do the (joint) taxes myself for a cost of ~$150.

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I told you so

ravin
Food, drink industries undermine health policy, study finds

The only thing is they forgot the other half - the diet/exercise/pharma industries who make $$$$$$$$$$ off of selling us the "cure" to the problems caused by the food and drink industries. Hell, look at who puts out the "Weight Watchers" and "Jenny Craig" "food", and how much crap it's loaded with.

It's interesting that no actual cures for diseases seem to have come out of the medical/pharmaceutical industry lately - just very expensive pills to "manage" the symptoms for the rest of your life. Diabetes has been around for how long, but all they do is make slightly better medications to "manage" it, not find a cure.

But what do I know, I'm just the product of the TV generation.

Link Sausage

ravin
Alternet, Mother Jones, and other reality based or liberal sources:

* Latest Pathetic Conservative Attack on Social Security: Disability Fraud Hysteria
Move over Welfare Queen. The Disability King is the new pet scapegoat for all that’s wrong with America.

* A Fetus Is Not a Person if it Costs us Money, Says Catholic Church
Forced to put its money where its mouth is, the Catholic Church backs off on the idea that the fetus is a person.

* Hillary Faces Down The Angry Men
From simpleton Ron Johnson to delusional Rand Paul, GOP senators swung at the Secretary of State and hit themselves.

* Obama's Failure to Punish Banks Should Be Causing Serious Social Unrest
A new PBS Frontline report examines outrageous steps Obama's administration took to protect Wall St. Wall Street from prosecutions.

* An Academic Smackdown: Refuting the Absurd Social Science Claim that "Poverty is in Our Genes"
* Personhood USA's Unhinged Response to National Advocates for Pregnant Women Study
* 4 Freedoms in America That Don't Exist Anymore
Freedom seems to exist more in our minds than in reality.

* A Girl Reads the New York Times: Why Are All the Front-Page Articles By Men?
The paper of record can't find any women reporters?

* When the Law Won't Call it "Rape"
If there's confusion among the public (and politicians) about rape, baffling, conflicting state laws make it worse.

* Fracking Boom Overwhelming Hospitals With Uninsured Laborers
* Read My Lips: Yes New Taxes
* The Way It Was
The Beatles ruled. The mini was in. I was seventeen, and pregnant. What happened next is what could happen again.

* Texas Public Schools: Still Teaching Creationism
* Bobby Jindal Thinks the GOP Isn't Right-Wing Enough
* A Rape a Minute, a Thousand Corpses a Year
Violence against women is incessantly overlooked, both in America and elsewhere.

* Boy Scouts Losing Big Funders Over Anti-Gay Policy
* No More "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Choice"
Op-Ed: It's time to abandon confusing and limiting labels and live dangerously in abortion's grey area.

* Coke: Wait, People Thought Vitaminwater Was Good for You?
* Top Earners Set to Pay Most, Especially Married People
* How to Avoid the Prying Eyes
* U.S. Still Suffering Depression Conditions: Paul Krugman
* The Science of Why Comment Trolls Suck
The online peanut gallery can get you so riled up that your ability to reason goes out the window, a new study finds.

*grumble*

ravin
Dear $vendor,

When I go to your web site, and order a product $X, I expect that you have $X in stock to ship to me. If I wanted a backorder, there are dozens of other, cheaper vendors who can backorder $X, but who are honest enough to not when they don't have an item in stock.

Even if you have to suddenly backorder an item, tell me that you have done so, instead of waiting for me to wonder if the post office has lost it or something. If I have to ask you where it is, and you only then tell me it's backordered, I will cancel the order.

No love,

Me

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Up-Goer Five Job Description

ravin
Written in The Up-Goer Five text editor

I put "how to do things" stuff on computers and make them start up again. Sometimes I do this to lots of computers at a time. I fix broken stuff on lots of computers, by one or many. I look at something that tells me what is broken on my computers, and fix them fast, or call someone else to fix it in a hurry. Then I write "how to" papers for the things I do so other people can do it the same and not do it wrong. Some days I do this for 12 hours at a time.

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Annual New Years Post

ravin
For several years I've been doing the predictions thing every January, and a retrospective on the year previous.

I probably won't do a full one this year. Too much fuckery going on, the economy sort of gets better, but not for a lot of folks in red states, rights in general take a hit from ALEC driven GOP legislators, again mostly in red states, but any bill coming out of the US House is also infected with degenerate neo-Republicanism.

I want real conservatives back, not these jackass, Koch fellating, teabagging, randroid narcissistic dominionists that rule the current GOP. They started cropping up during Reagan, and PNAC, and every year have doubled down on the nuttiness. I want conservatives who care more about their country than sucking up to Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh, the Koch brothers, the Religious Right, et al. Is that too much to ask?

Giftmas

At Well Weaving Wyrd - lwood
I try to live my beliefs: Helping starts at home. First your kin and friends, then your neighbors and town, then your state and nation, finally the rest of the world.

If anyone wants to know what I want for giftmas, it is this: Help someone out who has less than you do.

Give to a local organization that doesn't attach "strings" to its aid (that lets out the salvation Army, BTW.) If you need help, say so. I sure don't need more stuff, and the few things I do need I'll get myself.

Here's a few of my favorites:

Feeding Americe/Second Harvest - find your local food bank
Second Harvest Food Bank, Santa Clara County
Wounded Warrior Project - veterans
Habitat for Humanity - housing
VFW - veterans
Planned Parenthood - women's health

Have a great giftmas.

Notice: No more anonymous comments

ravin
Because of the recent huge uptick in spams comments, and the concurrent time needed to removed and report them, I have regretfully set my journal to disallow anonymous comments. Additionally, comments from non-friends will be screened. Sorry for the trouble,

Are you registered to VOTE?

ravin
If you live in California, tomorrow is the last day to register. Go HERE to register.

If you live in other states, get registered or verify that you are registered.

NOTE: The GOP is doing voter registration fraud again - dumping non-GOP registrations in VA, and buying voting machines. If they do it there, they'll do it anywhere, and they've done it before.

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More Cashectomy - Root Canal, part 2

ravin
So, the abscess didn't drain. For 3 days after the first dentist visit, I was hopped up on vicodin, which barely took the edge off. Back to the dentist, he checked, did some other work, referred me to a root canal specialist. Saw him yesterday. He re-did the root canal, got the thing to drain. More $$$, of course.

Nearly every cent of my FSA set aside this year has been spent on dental work, and that's with insurance! (Insurance only covers $1500 of costs, at 50% to 80% - that barely covers one crown here in Silicon Valley!) That's like over $3000 for a couple hours work.

I'm not sure which hurts more - the abscess or the cashectomy. Pulling the tooth would have been cheaper, but then I would have needed a bridge, which costs even more!

Owwww!

ravin
Root canal gone bad, abscessed, plus a filling broken on another tooth. My portion? $2175. Thank the gods for flex spending accounts. Vicodin and antibiotics, and I still hurt.

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More Discrimination in the Tax Code

ravin
It's bad enough that S. and I will have to *pay* someone to do our taxes because the federal government refuses to recognize same-sex pairings, but California does. California is a community property state, so even if the Feds don't agree, CA requires married type filing.

Now I see this, after setting aside a shit-ton of cash for our joint medical expenses:

Health Care FSA

Eligibility Rules
...
"Per tax law, expenses for domestic partners are not eligible."


Mother fucking fuck!!! I have already spent $1300 out of that this year for dental work for S.

Now I might have to "pay it back", even though it's my fucking money!

Nevermind that California says it is for both of us, the bigots in Congress trump it. Whatever happened to "full faith and credence?" Can the bigots in Congress so blithely wash that away with the stroke of the Bush bigot's pen? Oh, the "strict constructionists" in the Supreme Court aren't very "strict" when it clashes with their ideological (religious) bigotries.

Seriously, I am beginning to once again start hating anyone who belongs to what passes for a "Christian" church these days. I want all of those homophobic and/or misogynistic people to stick their heads in the toilet and *flush*. Between their fucking war on gays and the war on women, they need to be prosecuted as a hate group. That includes the anti-abortion and anti-gay bastards in Congress.

I am sick of this shit. Handmaids Tale was a dystopia, not a fucking manual!

Why don't those mother fuckers learn to mind their own business when it comes to people's personal lives? I really don't give a fuck what their angry little god who thinks he's king of the hill, and his preachers, says about gays or fetii. I just don't - it's not theirs to say. (All the other gods laugh at the deluded idiot anyway.) They are such hypocrites when it's them or their families that they should be ashamed to show their faces in public.

Must Read

stormclouds
You've probably heard, if you are paying attention, about the murder of Trayvon Martin. Oh, the cops are calling it "self defense" and letting his murderer walk free. It's in that racist cesspit Florida, after all.

Now go read this: The Crime of Being Black: Trayvon Martin and the Everyday Reality of Racist Violence in America

Think about this the next time you get twitchy about seeing a black or latino teenager just meandering down the street. He's just a kid, with as much right to walk around in public as any adult. Wearing a hoodie, hood up or down, isn't a fucking criminal act, damnit.

Hell, if you meet a kid wandering down the street, meet his eye, smile, say hi or wave. He's your neighbor, and has a right to be there, just like you.

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PayPal Being Asshats, Again

ravin
First, read [personal profile] naamah_darling on LJ or DW.

This is not the first time PayPal has dicked people over. They tried to tell DW what they could "allow" people to post, and when DW refused, they said "Well, we won't process your payments unless you conform." DW stuck to their guns and found another payment processor. It hurt them, and still does, because PayPal has a virtual monopoly on online payment processing.

Now they are telling Smashwords and other small web-based publishers what they can publish, or they won't process their payments. Smashwords caved.

What fucking business is it of PayPal's what you buy with your money as long as it's legal? If they act as a gatekeeper on content, and whether you can purchase it or not, then they become liable for the content, even if they never touch it. That's the difference between a common carrier/service provider and an editorial relationship.

But they are doing it.

I know from a number of ex-employees that they are a bunch of nasty, chiseling, repuke banksters without a technical clue one in their higher ranks, who will backstab and gaslight anyone who does not conform to their lockstep tightass mentality. They regularly drive "different" employees to mental breakdown and/or suicide. I already hate them for that.

This is right in line with the social conservatives attempt to impose their views on everyone through propaganda and market limits. (How can you explore and question an idea that you are never exposed to?)

Recommendations for alternate payment processors are cheerfully welcome.

I wish I was rich enough to start my own.

"Womb Integrity"

ravin
As in "your doctor should respect your womb integrity," (ie not be willing to remove it if you have fibroids) "or you should get a new doctor."

I'm sorry, but that is so breeder-centric, woman-as-baby-machine, psuedo-feminist claptrap that it makes me sick. Like a sane 40 some old year old woman is going to be obsessed with being able to bear children, "because that's her whole life, all she's meant for, if you take that away she has nothing" bullshit?

Nearly every woman I know hates menstruating, hates being chained to an expensive and messy set of feminine supplies, hates the prob associated with hormonal birth control, does not want to be defined as a walking "womb" and the only reason they don't want menopause is because of the other crap that goes with the hormone loss. This is even women who've had kids.

I've had a hist, I was thrilled. The ovaries remain, they were unaffected by the fibriods, there was no cancer. I am pleased as hell that my doctor didn't give me a lot of "but you could still have kiiids" crap at over 40. Sure, some folks do, but I think they're slightly nuts.

Yeah, I get the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it", which is why I wasn't seeking a hist at 20. But if it's broke? If it's causing pain, anemia and may be cancerous or pre-cancerous? Don't do a half-assed job of fixing the problem (D&C), and have to come back and do it again in 5 - 10 years.

Seriously "womb integrity??" How about quality of life, overall? How about me as a person, not me as a host for a fucking "womb". Should my doctor also have been respectful of my "appendix integrity" when it was about to burst? I don't think so! But because it involves producing children, it suddenly becomes *more* important than my health or comfort? It's now a sacred "womb". They can fuck that shit with a rusty chainsaw.

Every woman, whether she is a parent or not, is much, much more than just a potential producer of children. Her integrity as a person, her health and happiness, are far more important than her "womb integrity". It doesn't get a fucking say, it doesn't define her.

Don't fucking define women by the presence or functionality of a uterus. It's just wrong.

Just Say NO to ACTA!!

451F
Originally posted by [profile] cantarina1 at post
Originally posted by [profile] electricdruid at The fiasco continues

ACTA in a Nutshell –

What is ACTA?  ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.

Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.

Essential ACTA Resources

  • Read more about ACTA here: ACTA Fact Sheet
  • Read the authentic version of the ACTA text as of 15 April 2011, as finalized by participating countries here: ACTA Finalized Text
  • Follow the history of the treaty’s formation here: ACTA history
  • Read letters from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden wherein he challenges the constitutionality of ACTA: Letter 1 | Letter 2 | Read the Administration’s Response to Wyden’s First Letter here: Response
  • Watch a short informative video on ACTA: ACTA Video
  • Watch a lulzy video on ACTA: Lulzy Video

Say NO to ACTA. It is essential to spread awareness and get the word out on ACTA.

Via Tumblr

Convention Schedule, Q1 2012

ravin
PantheaCon, February 17-20, 2012, DoubleTree, San Jose, CA. - Dealer
Consonance, March 2 - 4, 2012, Hilton Newark/Fremont, Newark, CA. - Registration

A busy couple of weeks, there...

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Are you into Military SF?

ravin
Shattered Citadel is a universe developed by a guy I game with.

Starting in the near future, the story arc posits a WW3, The Great Human Civil War, from 2025-2077. Then, after that war ends, mankind fresh from it and the Succession Wars must confront a new alien threat.

There are both short and medium length stories, videos, and even fan fiction.

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Goals for 2012

ravin
  1. Pay down debt. 2011 was a fucking expensive year. I ended up owing money again - car and teeth. This year I need to reduce that.

  2. Sew stuff and sell it. I've got lots of pretty fabric and a heavy duty sewing machine

  3. Write stuff. This one is actually harder, since my job and small business take up a lot of time.

  4. Get my soap lab back and make soap. This is iffy, since the roomie tore it apart a couple years ago, and crappily packed it up to "work" on the area. Now the room is a box room. Growl.

  5. Learn to be a better geek, and how to teach it. This is job stuff.

  6. Find or make a place for myself in the local pagan community, even it is just as an artificer. I've been on the fringes too long.

  7. Spend more time decluttering. I have enough hobbies and interests that I need to better organize them.

  8. Do two or more conventions as a dealer. I'm signed up for PantheaCon and BayCon. I need to be prepared and organized.

  9. Eat better. Not talking diet - I don't do those. I just need to bring my IBS back under control. So I need to avoid fats and HFCS.

  10. Put my money where my mouth is.

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    Happy New Year!

    ravin
    Here's to progress, and making our world what we want it to be - a better place.

    LJ now == FuckBook

    flamethrower - from icons r us
    So, they rolled out Release 88, which arbitrarily went and abused every journal to rip out comment subject lines by their roots. Now all you see is a bunch of usernames, not what they are talking about. Take about ego bullshit.

    Supposedly it wasn't going to break S2 styles.

    Guess what? I use S2, and my LJ is broken. OK, they fixed it, except for pages that throw you into the new atrocity, despite what your settings are.

    The new default comment page looks as juvenile and corporate as FarceBook.

    If you want to comment on my journal with proper subjects, comment at My Dreamwidth Journal

    If you want to leave a nastygram on feedback? Do it, I did.

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